Oklahoma City, OK to Amarillo, TX

Trip Start Aug 19, 2006
Trip End Oct 30, 2006

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Previously, on the "New Adventures of Chris and Adrienne," we left our tired, sweaty, hungry, cranky travelers headed back to OKC after NOT getting a spot at the preferred campground where Adrienne had NOT made reservations prior to Chris driving all the way there...

After coming up short west of OKC yesterday, we turned around and headed back towards town, while I called campgrounds in the area, hoping for something reasonable, with free wi-fi. We got into a KOA east of town (Chris, sweetheart that he is, announced that it was better to be on the east side of town since the poor side of town is always on the east side and more likely to be the areas where evacuees would be found), set up camp, and I promptly fell asleep, EXHAUSTED... and I didn't do any driving!!!

However, OKC marks the perfection of the distillation of the process. We got up this morning to non-stop thunder and lightening and rain, found three leads (one from the attendant at the desk at the KOA - continuing our streak of not even having to leave the campground to get a lead), tracked one down, lined up an interview, did it, and beat feet outa town, much like a pair of professional bank robbers...

I have to say at this point that this entire undertaking would simply not be possible without the internet. Even though it is more satisfying to pick a location, wander around until we find a likely suspect, we are on the slam to get to Utah, so we need leads now! The internet allows me to search for leads before we even get to the next city. And, with truck stops and campgrounds offering wireless more and more, it's really a matter of how much time can we spend with the engine idling while Adrienne googles...

In museum exhibition design, you start planning from one of two starting points: the story or the stuff. During the course of the designing process, you end up modifying the story, deleting parts of it because there's not enough stuff to support it, or you add to the story based on stuff you have not covered by the original story. This goes on until you finish.

With this project, it is very similar. The story may be great (as in the guy we found in OKC: "Thanks to hurricane, mother finds long-lost son" ) but when you actually meet the person, they are wearing really thick glasses that you can't shoot around or they just are not visually interesting... Conversely, we may find someone whose face will make an amazing portrait, but they have no story... Like this guy:

(photo coming soon)

We met him on the beach in Biloxi, and after talking our ear off for twenty minutes, it turned out he was an ex-carney (dontcha just love carnies???), just passing through, had never been to the gulf coast before. Chris shot him anyway, but just for fun...

Lucky for us, the guy in OKC was REALLY interesting looking and had a great story... I'd show you a picture of him (I am now shooting a digital frame of each for the date/time stamp) but since I shot the photo, and didn't check the exposure, it's a really crappy dark picture - the contents of which you can barely discern!

Short drive today compared to yesterday's drive and FINALLY the landscape is not stress-inducing-ly hideous! The panhandle of Texas is actually quite scenic in that great plains sorta way... We already had our Texas story, so we didn't plan on trying to shoot someone in Amarillo. Actually, we didn't plan to stop in Amarillo, but since we left so late today after shooting Bryan, we figured it was the way to go.

Did I mention that the storm this morning was a HUGE cold front? Remember how I said it was 100F yesterday? Well, it was 75F when we got up to pee this morning and 59F at 2pm - yikes!! I was sooooooooo not prepared for cold weather yet. But, it was extremely cool to drive towards the edge of the front all day - we could literally see it above us all day.

The sunset we witnessed this evening was spectacular! I've seen sunsets in Hawai'i, the Carribean, and the west coast of Florida... I've seen them in various places in the US, but I had never seen one on the plains of Texas... absolutely jaw-dropping:

I was blind by the time it set, but that did not detract from the experience...

Some of the highlights of this leg of the journey include the World's Largest Cross

and a few other less-documented but equally commercial ventures:

If you know Chris, you know he has to have something to worry about... on our last road trip to NOLA in February, it was the weather stripping just outside his window on Blue... on this trip, it's our speed of travel, or the lack thereof... If, and I repeat if, we can get behind a truck and "draft" we can go upwards of 70mph (speed limit is 75mph) with little or no pressure on the gas pedal. It's getting there that Chris spends most of his time working on achieving... Wind resistance adds to the equation and often times keeps us from being able to get into the slip-stream of the passing semi... On this leg of the trip, we actually made some good time, owing to the flatness of I-40 and the lack of serious headwinds...

So, Chris was in a more, er, playful mood than usual today. He was trying to make pictures of the sun reflecting off the trucks' chrome and needed to shoot just out the window, with both hands... necessitating that I steer from the passenger seat. (Now, don't make that noise - you know you've done it yourself once or twice! When you travel with a photographer who drives, you better be good at it, because it happens a lot ;-) So, there we are, in the right lane, getting passed by a never ending stream of eighteen wheelers, I'm steering, and Chris literally hangs out the driver's side window at his waist, turns around and starts shooting oncoming trucks... We were cracking up, imagining truckers going, "What the... ?!?!? Who's driving that rig?!?!"

Then, one of the trucks that had passed us slowed down instead of changing into our lane and moving on... We thought, hey, they want us to catch up, so we did. Sure enough, the passenger of the truck was shooting *our* picture. We laughed and waved, only to realize they were not laughing... so we turned on the CB and all we heard as they blew by us was "garble garble garble, something wrong with them... that ain't right... garble garble." Oops! Guess they thought we wuz the FBI or sumthin' ;-) I wish we'd gotten a picture of them shooting us, but it happened too fast. Oh well... we have their photo, so now we need to keep an eye on the news to see if that company gets busted for illegal immigrant trafficking any time soon!

We made our way to the Fort Amarillo RV Park - only worth mentioning because one of their "amenities" is a "catch and release" fishing pond stuffed to the gills with sunfish and other non-trout options... I can't promise you Chris didn't whip out the spinny-mini, but I didn't see him do it ;-)

Things we LOVE
Driving under overcast skies when it's hot, and the weather gods that keep giving us those driving conditions - I can't help but feel they're behind us on this endeavor...

Things we HATE
Driving uphill.

Alpine Aire Beef Rotini
9 out of 10
Filling, tasty, plenty of beef, re-hydrated excellently, pretty much as good as it gets, no complaints except a very slight foil taste initially, that went away after the 3rd bite.
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